New Custom Control: TaskProgressView

I have written a new custom control and commited it to the ControlsFX project. It is a highly specialized control for showing a list of background tasks, their current status and progress. This is actually the first control I have written for ControlsFX just for the fun of it, meaning I do not have a use case for it myself (but sure one will come eventually). The screenshot below shows the control in action.


If you are already familiar with the javafx.concurrent.Task class you will quickly grasp that the control shows the value of its title, message, and progress properties. But it also shows an icon, which is not covered by the Task API. I have added an optional graphics factory (a callback) that will be invoked for each task to lookup a graphic node that will be placed on the left-hand side of the list view cell that represents the task.

A video showing the control in action can be found here:

The Control

Since this control is rather simple I figured it would make sense to post the entire source code for it so that it can be used for others to study. The following listing shows the code of the control itself. As expected it extends the Control class and provides an observable list for the monitored tasks and an object property for the graphics factory (the callback).

package org.controlsfx.control;

import javafx.collections.FXCollections;
import javafx.collections.ListChangeListener;
import javafx.collections.ObservableList;
import javafx.concurrent.Task;
import javafx.concurrent.WorkerStateEvent;
import javafx.event.EventHandler;
import javafx.scene.Node;
import javafx.scene.control.Control;
import javafx.scene.control.Skin;
import javafx.util.Callback;

 * The task progress view is used to visualize the progress of long running
 * tasks. These tasks are created via the {@link Task} class. This view
 * manages a list of such tasks and displays each one of them with their
 * name, progress, and update messages.<p>
 * An optional graphic factory can be set to place a graphic in each row.
 * This allows the user to more easily distinguish between different types
 * of tasks.
 * <h3>Screenshots</h3>
 * The picture below shows the default appearance of the task progress view
 * control:
 * <center><img src="task-monitor.png" /></center>
 * <h3>Code Sample</h3>
 * <pre>
 * TaskProgressView&lt;MyTask&gt; view = new TaskProgressView&lt;&gt;();
 * view.setGraphicFactory(task -> return new ImageView("db-access.png"));
 * view.getTasks().add(new MyTask());
 * </pre>
public class TaskProgressView<T extends Task<?>> extends Control {

     * Constructs a new task progress view.
    public TaskProgressView() {

        EventHandler<WorkerStateEvent> taskHandler = evt -> {
            if (evt.getEventType().equals(
                    || evt.getEventType().equals(
                    || evt.getEventType().equals(
                            WorkerStateEvent.WORKER_STATE_FAILED)) {

        getTasks().addListener(new ListChangeListener<Task<?>>() {
            public void onChanged(Change<? extends Task<?>> c) {
                while ( {
                    if (c.wasAdded()) {
                        for (Task<?> task : c.getAddedSubList()) {
                    } else if (c.wasRemoved()) {
                        for (Task<?> task : c.getAddedSubList()) {

    protected Skin<?> createDefaultSkin() {
        return new TaskProgressViewSkin<>(this);

    private final ObservableList<T> tasks = FXCollections

     * Returns the list of tasks currently monitored by this view.
     * @return the monitored tasks
    public final ObservableList<T> getTasks() {
        return tasks;

    private ObjectProperty<Callback<T, Node>> graphicFactory;

     * Returns the property used to store an optional callback for creating
     * custom graphics for each task.
     * @return the graphic factory property
    public final ObjectProperty<Callback<T, Node>> graphicFactoryProperty() {
        if (graphicFactory == null) {
            graphicFactory = new SimpleObjectProperty<Callback<T, Node>>(
                    this, "graphicFactory");

        return graphicFactory;

     * Returns the value of {@link #graphicFactoryProperty()}.
     * @return the optional graphic factory
    public final Callback<T, Node> getGraphicFactory() {
        return graphicFactory == null ? null : graphicFactory.get();

     * Sets the value of {@link #graphicFactoryProperty()}.
     * @param factory an optional graphic factory
    public final void setGraphicFactory(Callback<T, Node> factory) {

The Skin

As you might have expected the skin is using a ListView with a custom cell factory  to display the tasks.


import javafx.beans.binding.Bindings;
import javafx.concurrent.Task;
import javafx.geometry.Insets;
import javafx.geometry.Pos;
import javafx.scene.Node;
import javafx.scene.control.Button;
import javafx.scene.control.ContentDisplay;
import javafx.scene.control.Label;
import javafx.scene.control.ListCell;
import javafx.scene.control.ListView;
import javafx.scene.control.ProgressBar;
import javafx.scene.control.SkinBase;
import javafx.scene.control.Tooltip;
import javafx.scene.layout.BorderPane;
import javafx.scene.layout.VBox;
import javafx.util.Callback;

import org.controlsfx.control.TaskProgressView;

import com.sun.javafx.css.StyleManager;

public class TaskProgressViewSkin<T extends Task<?>> extends
        SkinBase<TaskProgressView<T>> {

    static {
                        .getResource("taskprogressview.css").toExternalForm()); //$NON-NLS-1$

    public TaskProgressViewSkin(TaskProgressView<T> monitor) {

        BorderPane borderPane = new BorderPane();

        // list view
        ListView<T> listView = new ListView<>();
        listView.setPrefSize(500, 400);
        listView.setPlaceholder(new Label("No tasks running"));
        listView.setCellFactory(param -> new TaskCell());

        Bindings.bindContent(listView.getItems(), monitor.getTasks());


    class TaskCell extends ListCell<T> {
        private ProgressBar progressBar;
        private Label titleText;
        private Label messageText;
        private Button cancelButton;

        private T task;
        private BorderPane borderPane;

        public TaskCell() {
            titleText = new Label();

            messageText = new Label();

            progressBar = new ProgressBar();

            cancelButton = new Button("Cancel");
            cancelButton.setTooltip(new Tooltip("Cancel Task"));
            cancelButton.setOnAction(evt -> {
                if (task != null) {

            VBox vbox = new VBox();

            BorderPane.setAlignment(cancelButton, Pos.CENTER);
            BorderPane.setMargin(cancelButton, new Insets(0, 0, 0, 4));

            borderPane = new BorderPane();

        public void updateIndex(int index) {

             * I have no idea why this is necessary but it won't work without
             * it. Shouldn't the updateItem method be enough?
            if (index == -1) {

        protected void updateItem(T task, boolean empty) {
            super.updateItem(task, empty);

            this.task = task;

            if (empty || task == null) {
            } else if (task != null) {

                Callback<T, Node> factory = getSkinnable().getGraphicFactory();
                if (factory != null) {
                    Node graphic =;
                    if (graphic != null) {
                        BorderPane.setAlignment(graphic, Pos.CENTER);
                        BorderPane.setMargin(graphic, new Insets(0, 4, 0, 0));
                } else {
                	 * Really needed. The application might have used a graphic
                	 * factory before and then disabled it. In this case the border
                	 * pane might still have an old graphic in the left position.



The stylesheet below makes sure we use a bold font for the task title, a smaller / thinner progress bar (without rounded corners), and list cells with a fade-in / fade-out divider line in their bottom position.

.task-progress-view  {
       -fx-background-color: white;

.task-progress-view > * > .label {
 	-fx-text-fill: gray;
 	-fx-font-size: 18.0;
 	-fx-alignment: center;
 	-fx-padding: 10.0 0.0 5.0 0.0;

.task-progress-view > * > .list-view  {
 	-fx-border-color: transparent;
 	-fx-background-color: transparent;

.task-title {
	-fx-font-weight: bold;

.task-progress-bar .bar {
	-fx-padding: 6px;
	-fx-background-radius: 0;
	-fx-border-radius: 0;

.task-progress-bar .track {
	-fx-background-radius: 0;

.task-message {

.task-list-cell {
    -fx-background-color: transparent;
    -fx-padding: 4 10 8 10;
    -fx-border-color: transparent transparent linear-gradient(from 0.0% 0.0% to 100.0% 100.0%, transparent, rgba(0.0,0.0,0.0,0.2), transparent) transparent;

.task-list-cell-empty {
	-fx-background-color: transparent;
    -fx-border-color: transparent;

.task-cancel-button {
	-fx-base: red;
	-fx-font-size: .75em;
	-fx-font-weight: bold;
	-fx-padding: 4px;
	-fx-border-radius: 0;
	-fx-background-radius: 0;

FlexGanttFX: First JavaFX Component on ComponentSource

Yesterday FlexGanttFX has become the first JavaFX component in the product catalog of You can find the entry here. ComponentSource is an international reseller of software components, basically the “App Store” of custom controls.  The fact that FlexGanttFX has been listed shows that the market is reacting and that JavaFX is gaining acceptance.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 10.54.04

New Release: FlexGanttFX 1.0.0

Gantt Chart
I finally managed to put together a 1.0.0 production-ready release of FlexGanttFX. After two early access releases at the beginning of the year I put in a lot of hours to get the framework to a maturity level that I deem to be high enough for real-world application development. The release can be downloaded from the product website at I would recommend to run the three standalone demos in this distribution to get an idea of FlexGanttFX’s capabilities.

FlexGanttFX is much bigger than a regular JavaFX control. The view consists of 83 and the model of 58 classes. It could have been even bigger but during development I decided to contribute some of the custom controls to the ControlsFX project (e.g. StatusBar, PopOver, PlusMinusSlider, HiddenSidesPane, MasterDetailPane).


There were two events in the past that delayed the release: the first one was a requirement from an early adopter to use the graphics area of the Gantt chart standalone, without the tree table view on the left-hand side. They wanted to use it as an editor for creating classroom schedules. Even though this requirement delayed the release it turned out to be very beneficial for the overall design of the framework. In the end I came up with four different ways the graphics can be presented: single row, using a VBox, using a SplitPane, or using a ListView.

The second event was the release of JDK 8u20. Changes were made to the way CSS was applied / processed which caused many warning messages to be shown in the console (“…unable to resolve -fx-background-color …”). While most people only get these warnings I could actually see that the layout of the controls in the Gantt chart was messed up. I had to find work-arounds for these issues which took a long time. I still see these messages but they seem to be harmless now. If anyone can point me to the root of this problem I would very much appreciate it.


I would like to say a special thank you to Gilberto Gomez, Werner Lehmann, and Christian Hollmann of MINT Media who provided very valuable input during the development of FlexGanttFX. I would also like to say thank you to the entire JavaFX developer community, especially the guys from Oracle and ControlsFX (Jonathan Giles, Eugene Ryzhikov).

JavaFX Tip 14: StackPane Children – Hidden But Not Gone

Another short tip: Swing provides a layout manager called CardLayout, which manages a set of components (cards) inside a container but always only shows one of them. The method, String) allows to switch between the components / the cards.

The same behaviour can be accomplished in JavaFX by using the StackPane, adding several children (each using the entire width and height of the pane) and calling the Node.toFront() method to switch between the children. However, there is one big difference: the StackPane will always layout all of its children, independent of wether they are currently showing or not. This might result in bad performance of your application and can be noticed when resizing the window that contains the pane.

My advice: manage your “cards” by adding them to or removing them from the scene graph. These operations are fast and flicker-free (this is JavaFX in Java 8, not Swing before Java 6).

JavaFX Tip 13: Study Modena CSS File

This is the easiest and shortest tip so far. If you want to do any of the following things:

  • learn how to use CSS
  • make your custom controls look like the standard controls
  • reuse an SVG path graphic used by a standard control (e.g. scrollbar arrows)
  • figure out how to navigate the structure of the standard controls
  • determine the color used for a specific item
  • consistently modify several standard controls

then simply take a look at the default CSS stylesheet that ships with JavaFX. The file is called modena.css and can be found in the jfxrt.jar file in this location: com/sun/javafx/scene/control/skin/modena/

e(fx)clipse 1.0 released

JavaFX Tip 12: Define Icons in CSS

When you are a UI developer coming from Swing like me then there is a good chance that you are still setting images / icons directly in your code. Most likely something like this:

import javafx.scene.control.Label;
import javafx.scene.image.ImageView;

public class MyLabel extends Label {

    public MyLabel() {
        setGraphic(new ImageView(MyLabel.class.


In this example the image file is looked up via Class.getResource(), the URL is passed to the constructor of the ImageView node and this node is set as the “graphic” property on the label.

This approach works perfectly well but with JavaFX there is a more elegant way. You can put the image definition into a CSS file, making it easy for your and / or others to replace it (once the marketing department has decided to change the corporate identity once again).

The same result as above can be achieved this way:

import javafx.scene.control.Label;

public class CSSLabel extends Label {

    public CSSLabel() {

Now you obviously need a CSS file as well:

.folder-icon {
	-fx-graphic: url("image.gif");

And in your application you need to add the stylesheet to your scene graph. Here we are adding it to the scene.

import javafx.application.Application;
import javafx.geometry.Pos;
import javafx.scene.Scene;
import javafx.stage.Stage;

public class MyApplication extends Application {

	public void start(Stage primaryStage) throws 
		                             Exception {
		CSSLabel label = new CSSLabel();
		Scene scene = new Scene(label);
		primaryStage.setTitle("Image Example");

	public static void main(String[] args) {

With this approach you have a clean separation of your controls and their apperance and you allow for easy customization as well.